Did you know adultery is a felony in Wisconsin?

This grew out of comments from a posting on an Elmbrook principal possibly vacationing with his new “love interest.” Is it wrong to be concerned over a principal’s adultery?

Well, Wisconsin law thinks there’s room for concern. Statute 944.16 says:

944.16 Adultery. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of a Class I felony:
(1) A married person who has sexual intercourse with a person not the married person’s spouse; or
(2) A person who has sexual intercourse with a person who is married to another.

It looks like a fine of up to $10,000 or jail time or both could be sentenced.

In contrast, it takes the FIFTH drunken driving offense before OWI is prosecuted as a felony. (Unless the OWI is combined with killing someone.)

By the way, a felony conviction for adultery would wipe out the City of Brookfield’s Mayor and parts of my neighborhood. Something to consider, huh?


  1. I did *not* know that adultery is a felony in Wisconsin.

    But I can understand that law, in light of the recent stats on sexually transmitted infections STIs). There used to be 2 or 3 kinds, now there are 25-30,many of which are incurable. Both virus and bacteria are much smaller than a sperm cell and may be transmitted despite condom usage. Some may be spread by kissing an infected person.

    According to A.C.Green’s “Game Plan”, some non-viral STDs may be cured if properly diagnosed: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphyllis, Trichomoniasis, Pelvic Imflammitory Disease, while these viral STDs cannot be cured: Genital Herpes (HSV2), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) cause of Genital Warts and Cervical Cancer, Hepatitis B (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which causes Acquired Immune Defienciency Syndrome (AIDS).

    Another page of the book shares that in a survey of men who knew they had STDs, approximately 3 out of 4 admitted that they have sex without telling the other person about their STD.

    Any type of sexual activity can and does spread STDs. The only way to be sure of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases is by avoiding all forms of sexual activity before marriage, marrying an uninfected person, and being faithful to your spouse.

    It is critical for sexually active persons to be tested for STDs by a medical professional.

    According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/STD/, April 2008 is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month.

  2. Dan,
    According to the research I read, cervical cancer used to be found in women in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Now it is being found in teens! It appears that ravaging one’s reproductive organs in the largely post-menopausal years was of little consequence. But for unaware teens to suffer that loss of fertility and face a childless future is a bit more limiting, and as these teens mature into a phase of life where they’d enjoy embarking on the journey with someone special and rasing a family, the loss may be devastating. As I understand it, HPV is also linked to oral cancer… once found in older people, now found in teens!

    It is sad to think that just as this generation’s life is unfolding before them, many of their life options may be disappearing because they bought into the myth of safe sex, everyone’s doing it, etc.

    We need to raise public awareness! If 25% of teens have an STI, what will the percentage of infected adults be, when my daughter is ready to marry? How will our children find uninfected spouses?!?!?!?!

    Thanks for the compliment, unfortunately I do not have the wherewithall to blog. I do enjoy posting a comment or two, but you’ll note I read much more than I write, and I write like a broken record: wash hands… keep them to yourself… disagree agreeably… and laugh alot.

  3. I don’t know how anyone can doubt that people, especially the younger ones, are much more sexually active than in the past. When I was a teen, if it got out that any girl was putting out, she was labelled a slut and shunned. If she gave oral, it was a scandal of major proportions. Now oral is common and not even considered sex, and casual sex is the norm for most young people.

    That is certainly going to lead to more STDs.

  4. Al Goreleone says:

    Not even I would be bold enough to state that the rise in std’s has anything to do with global warming. But seriously Cheri M is right. Just do the math.

  5. Cheri M. says:

    Yes, Al-Gorey, the math is astounding! And *that* is an inconvenient truth.

    “When you have sex with someone, you are exposed to diseases from everyone they have had sex with, and everyone their previous partners have had sex with.” C.Evertt Koop, M.D., Former U.S. Surgeon General

    If you have sexual contact with only one person in your life, and they only have sexual contact with you, you have 1 exposure.

    If you have a second sexual partner in your life, and they have had one sexual partner before you, you have 4 exposures.

    If you have a third, and you are also their third, 7 exposures.

    Fourth partner? 15 exposures!
    Fifth? 31 exposures!
    Sixth? 63 exposures!
    Seventh – 127 exposures,
    Eighth – 255 exposures,
    Ninth – 511 exposures.
    Tenth – 1023 exposures!!!!!!!!!!
    Eleventh – 2,047 exposures!!!!!!!!!!!
    A Twelfth sexual partner? 4,095 exposures

    Please note this chart assumes every person has only had the same number of partners as you.

    [info gleaned from Sexual Exposure Chart, http://www.silverringthing.com]

  6. If the law is not enforced, does it matter that it’s illegal? It’s effectively legalized (like immigration), if laws are not enforced.

    Although I didn’t know it was illegal, I could have guessed. Law making bodies often leave laws on the books, probably because they don’t want to be bothered combing the books for outmoded laws.

  7. I disagree about being too lazy to comb them. Instead I see laws like this being selectively used to make a point or capture a criminal that remains elusive in other convictions.

  8. In today’s climate, anyone trying to remove such a law would be labeled “pro-adultery” by someone else with an ax to grind.

  9. Clearly, the law is justified.

    What better way to protect the citizenry from the dangers of adultery-induced STDs than by sentencing violators to a few years of being sodomized by tattooed, IV drug using convicts?

    That’ll learn ’em…


  10. Extramarital affairs are not the business of government.

  11. Cheri M. says:

    I also like my freedom and am a bit uncomfortable with tapped phones, e-mails, cameras everywhere… and sex police! LOL! Marriage is a legal contract, government forms are signed at the time of marriage, and government records are kept. So the government is already involved in marriage.

    It has long been realized that the stability of the family is the underpinning of a successful economy and a heightend level of public health and safety. I’m not going to define the family unit, but for the benefit of public health & safety and a strong economy, the family unit needs to be strong. The government’s interest is not a moral one, it is financially motivated.

    While I might want to agree with you that one’s personal business is… well, personal… I’m going to take the opposite approach in this, and toss out a rhetorical question: If the government ought not to have laws regarding adultery, should the government also not have laws about stealing? Why should the government care if one syphon’s another’s gas… takes an elderly woman’s purse… etc?

  12. El gato says:

    Why is adultery a felony and yet we have “no fault” divorce? Seems sort of stupid to me. I have to agree with Shawn on this one. Adultery is a matter between a person and God first, then between the spouses to settle. No fault divorce should go!

  13. Because sleeping with your neighbor does not cause damage to others or their property. Stealing does.

    My philosophy is that if you’re not hurting others, go ahead and do it. Doesn’t mean i will.

    Sure there may be “emotional damage” etc. but if we were to regulate everything that caused emotional damage, President Bush would be illegal! (joke!)

    El Gato brings up a good point about no fault divorce. I don’t think it should go, though.

    Government shouldn’t regulate family–families come in all shapes and sizes and go through all sorts of bumps. I know one family where the husband and wife were previously married and met while they were still unhappily married to their respective spouses. Thy divorced theirs and married each other and have been together for over 30 years now.

    Life happens.

    But then again, i’d love to see Jeff Speaker and Don LaBonte in a cell together. maybe that can be our next cartoon redux (ala the Gibson/Labonte photo BrkfldDad brought up)

  14. Kathryn says:

    I think there is a place for amicable divorce. People shouldn’t be forced to be miserable with one another. But it shouldn’t be so easy that either party could walk away at any time. Divorce because one party is bored or the spark is gone makes a sham of marriage. How do you legislate the medium on this?

  15. Cheri M. says:

    STI… no damage? Broken marriage… no damage? The financial consequences come to mind… especially the financial consequences to kids…

  16. El gato says:

    I guess I wasn’t clear about divorce. I certainly think that if people want to divorce without stating any reason other than that they don’t want to be married to each other, that should be acceptable, but if there are grounds such as adultery, abuse, etc. they should be able to bring them up and be grounds for the settlement instead of just a straight 50-50 division.

  17. Kathryn says:

    Good points.

  18. BrkfldDad says:

    Excellent point Dan, as one who professes ‘sola scriptura’, he has a convenient lapse on this topic!

  19. Kathryn says:

    Even Luther, who was papa of sola scriptura found it necessary to interpret. As I recall, Luther wanted to throw out entire books from the Bible.

  20. BrkfldDad says:


    I couldn’t agree more. But EG’s previous posts strongly indicate it is not open for interpretation, except I guess for when it comes to divorce.

  21. Kathryn says:

    Well, I guess that puts him in good company. 😉

  22. Dan– I don’t think McCain’s nefarious acts should be illegal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be subject to scrutiny. If Jeremiah Wright is, so is McCain cheating on his wife.

  23. That would be correct if that’s what actually happened. You’ve been unable to document the story other than far lefty blogs if I remember correctly.

  24. Kathryn says:

    My die-hard Republican mother has been saying the same thing a lot longer than Shawn has. I’m not sure it needs scrutiny. I’ve given up trying to find leaders without flaws. If he’s been faithful lately, that’s got to be enough.